A/N: I am back from the dead! I hope I haven't been forgotten yet! (Cause I worked my ass off all day to complete this story for you guys Dx) Just a couple of notes first...
THIS IS MY FIRST TIME WRITING IT ALL IN FIRST PERSON PRESENT TENSE. So please forgive any overlooked errors. If it's really bad, please let me know so I can revert it back to third person...maybe.
Warning: Contains bad language, girl on girl action, and teacher-student relationship. No like, no read. No bullshit please.
Bad news? That's putting it lightly. A human time bomb for disaster? Only in my eyes. The minute I noticed her I knew that she was something. Her eyes had searched the room with that childish grin on her face, and my eyes, out of everyone in that class of two hundred, were the first ones to she stalled upon. Her smile widened, and then she spoke. That was when I decided that she was going to make this class hell. If only just for me.
"Welcome to Sociology three-fifteen," she said brightly on the first day of class. "This is Juvenile Delinquency and I assume you're all supposed to be here. If not, too bad because no one is leaving my classroom. Why? Because it makes life hard for me. And I don't like life being hard, do you?" She was leaning against the podium, relaxed and looking nothing like a university professor."You all know my name. If not, then you're definitely not supposed to be here. Nonetheless, you can all skip any formalities and call me Temari. Let's all have fun and try our best to make this a warm loving environment, hm? Speaking of warm loving environments, that brings us to the very heart of this subject. But before we get into that, do we have any questions, comments, complaints, or anything else that needs to be exhausted to prevent and sort of excessive whining and other such annoying behaviours?"
Silence. I could see that I wasn't the only one gawking at her. She was young, very young. A silver lip ring glittered brightly under the fluorescent lights. She wore washed jeans and a scruffy cardigan rolled up at the elbows. Apparently, there was no dress code for the teaching staff. If there was, then I was sure that she had broken at least one rule or another. The point is that all our incredulousness came from the paradoxical fact that she looked more like a juvenile delinquent than anyone else in the room. Yet there she was, standing in front of us, drumming her fingers on the surface of the podium patiently awaiting our questions, ready to teach SO 315. I must've looked like I had something to say, because her eyes were challenging as they rested on mine. Fortunately, I was saved.
"It's Temari," Temari said, casting a droll look at a slightly overweight guy two rows below me on the sloped classroom—a big contrast from the daring gaze she had on me. He stiffened and his ears reddened to the very tips. Even though I could only see the back of his unkempt head, I was sure his ears weren't the only part of him that was red. I didn't recall seeing her pull any moves that caused such a reaction, but I supposed she just had that kind of power on men. A guy magnet. I was really beginning to not like her. She was probably the type who snuck students into her office to fulfill all her sexual fetishes.
"F-F-Forgive me for a-asking but--"
"Yes I am your real teacher. Yes I'm young. And yes, I am quite brilliant," she replied with a self-satisfying smirk. "Next?"
"You're hot!" The blonde beside me shouted, earning a few giggles from the class. I shook my head at him. Always been a douche-bag, and probably forever will be. I went to high school with him, so I know how much of a dumbass jock he is. I think his name was Naruto or something weird like that. Sounds like food. I've never spoken to him, but my dumbass-radar has never been wrong so far. And right now, I'm sensing some major beeps around me.
"Thank you," Temari grinned again, "but no I will not sleep with you. Anyone else? No? Good! Let's begin!"
After class that day, most the males formed a huge group huddle around her, each trying impress her or asking elementary questions in attempt get her attention. I couldn't stand the pretentious air that engulfed the entire classroom, and dashed out of there as quickly as I could. I could see that most of the people who left wanted to join the party, but didn't want to leave a bad impression. People were looking forward to her teaching the rest of the course. She was attractive and young, no bullshit, just blatant honesty and fun. She was charming and every student loved her. I was probably the only person in the whole class that didn't like her. At all.
That was the first day.
Now January, well into the school year, nothing seems different. Even though my opinion of her remains unchanged, she was not as incompetent as I pegged her to be. She is full of herself, no doubt about that, but it's not completely unjustified. Still, class always feels like high school again, and I doubt that's a good thing. I've easily climbed to the top of the class and made a few acquaintances. It's all very good but how can that frivolous woman manage to woo the entire class? Or better yet, the whole damn school. Our class size is full to the brim and there were so many people trying to get in at the beginning of the year that I was actually paranoid of having my seat taken from me. People say I'm more people just uptight and should just relax and enjoy the "privilege" of being here. Seriously.
I catch her eye every class, every lesson. She always glances at this direction and smiles whenever our gaze holds out. Naruto thinks it's all him. At first, I thought so too. As much of a dumbass he is, he's still more attractive than I am. I'm just Plain Jane. But after a while, I realize it wasn't him. It was me. Of course I would never let Naruto know that (it'd break his little heart). I didn't understand it. And in all honesty, our little exchanges annoyed the fuck out of me. I feel like she's flirting with me all the time during class. There's another reason for not being able to stand her. She's a player who doesn't take class seriously at all if she's busy trying to hit on me. A woman. I can't stand those sparkly, gallant types who try too hard to woo the pants off of people whether they be the same or opposite sex. She picks on me a lot too, always trying to talk to me all the time. I don't mind it as much since I tend to answer lots of questions anyway. But lately it's getting more and more excessive.
"She's looking at me again," Naruto snickers beside me. Today is just another day. Everybody is happy as usual to be in this class and I'm the only one feeling as grey as the sky outside.
"That's nice," I reply, not looking up from my notes as I jot them down. Besides, this happens all the time so I let Naruto give himself some false hope. He may be more attractive than me, but he certainly isn't the most attractive in the class and I highly doubt he's her type.
"I wager that I can get her to sleep with me." He turns and smiles at me with that false boyish innocence. I know I'd never start a conversation with this kind of guy, but it's impolite to ignore someone so I don't have much of a choice.
"Is that even legal?" I ask, staring back at him blankly.
"Probably. Who cares? Think I can do it?"
"That's not really something I want to bet any money on," I say dismissively. Betting on something like that is much too vulgar for me. As much as I'd like to see him fall (and get a little cash), that's just crossing the line.
"C'mon, live a little!" Naruto says a little louder than he intended too. The people on our side of the classroom look at us curiously. I can feel the heat rising to my cheeks.
"Mister Uzumaki," Temari calls, taking a few steps in our direction, "got some fun secrets to share with the class, yeah?"
"Naw," he replies, casually leaning back in his seat. "I'm just working something out with Tenten here." Next thing I know, his arm slinks around my shoulders in an overly friendly fashion. I can't believe him. With the way this is going, he's going to get me in a lot of trouble for sure. Yes, I can see it in his eyes: the mischief and joy of messing with a do-gooder like me. Temari is staring at him. Her eyes slide over to meet mine. Funny enough, she's sporting the same fox-like grin on Naruto's face.
"Oh yeah? About what? Nothing the class can't hear about right?" I'm trying to hide as I shrink into my seat, but this spotlight attention doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.
And of course, Naruto doesn't hesitate. "We're betting on whether I can get you into bed or not," he says shamelessly, raising his head in triumph. I let my head fall onto my desk, resigning. Anything I say will just make things worse. Above all, controlling the urge to punch Naruto in the face is putting every bit of my sanity to the test. When I lift up my head again, I saw the darkened expression on Temari's face. But for some fucked up reason or another, she starts grinning again as soon as our eyes met. Again.
"You two better be here after class, got it?" was all she said before restarting her lecture.
I violently shrug off Naruto's arm and shoot him the dirtiest look I can manage. Then I glared down at my notes, vowing to never speak to the motherfucker ever again. I've never gotten in trouble before. Now, because of his big mouth, I--me! An innocent bystander--has been dragged into this…this…ARGH! Temari throws me an amused smirk, but Naruto, with his massive ego, throws one right back at her. I look over to the girl beside me for some sympathy. Sakura. Lucky for me, she seems to understand, patting my shoulder lightly with a shake of her head. Though I haven't known her for long (only started talking this semester actually), I've come to like her a lot and she's come to be one of my most respected and trusted friends. What can I say? She's a brilliant one--my biggest rival for top of the class. Though she's definitely a different, I'd say, with pink hair, colourful and girlish clothes, and not to mention very openly gay. I met her girlfriend before too, with my friend, Lee in the "psycho" department as I like to call it. Because literally everyone there is a little…off. Kinda ironic. Just like us. Nonetheless, they're both great people and, I've gotta admit, a very cute couple.
"Maybe it's just me," Sakura suddenly whispers, leaning closer for me to hear, "but I think there's something about Temari that's kind of different. You know what I'm saying?"
"Oh, I bet you think she's fucking wonderful too," I grumble, glaring at the small figure pacing around the stage below us.
"No, no. Well, I'm not saying she's not, but I'm just saying…"
"Then say it already!" I whisper back a bit more harshly than I intended. Seeing the stunned look on her face, I quickly apologize.
She shrugs it off and leans in again. "I think she's like me."
"What are you talking about?" I ask with furrowed brows. I hate looking dumb, I really do. "She's nothing like you."
"You know…like me and Ino," she drawls, making incomprehensible hand gestures.
"What? No way. Why would that even…"
"Why not?" Sakura frowned. It was that kind of question that makes me feel dumb. As soon as she said those two simple little words, I realized that I didn't have an answer. I thought hard to come up with something, but the more I thought about it the more plausible her assumption became.
"Because she attracts so many men!" I say, despite knowing how weak that sounded. "However way you look at her, she sure doesn't look it." I can already begin to predict what Sakura is going to say, but for some reason I'd rather look ignorant than look like a dumb quitter who can't put up a fight. I guess I'm just stubborn like that. I know, it annoys me too.
"So what?" Yup, saw that one coming. "Just because she gets the attention doesn't mean she likes it." Of course. "And how can she 'look' like it? I hope you're not stereotyping. Do I look like it?" Sakura says with a patronizing frown as an added bonus. I deserved that one too. So I shake my head and shut up. It's true. I thought she and Ino were just very good friends. Before them, I thought lesbians were just girls who look like men and prey on other girls. Or sluts with no self-respect who suck face with other sluts to impress men. Imagine my surprise when I first saw them kissing shamelessly in front of me. I know I'm actually quite ashamed when I look back at it. They're first homosexual couple I've met in real life so I hope it's forgivable.
"I just get the same vibe from her," Sakura finally says. She scrutinizes Temari, who stood centre stage presenting a PowerPoint with a laser pointer. "Besides, she sure looks this way a lot, but I don't really think it's me she's looking at. And I highly, highly doubt its Naruto."
"Oh. Good. You noticed it too," I reply irritably. "It might be the guy behind us." I snuck a look behind me. I can't recall his name, but I know he's the partying type. He always looks like he's got a hangover, but from what I hear, his vocabulary spanned far wider than "fuck" and "titties". I was a little amazed myself when someone told me. He's attractive enough, so it wouldn't be surprising if he's the one getting Temari's favour.
Beside me, I hear a very quick and very confident, "I don't think so." I gape at her. "I don't see why it can't be you," I say.
"Oh please, Tenten, the news of me and Ino spread like a freakin' hurricane when it came out. Plus, you know how she is. She's so proud that she'd include 'gay and taken' in every introduction she makes! When she gets that degree, I won't be surprised if she wrote that on her business cards and her shiny name plate for every one of her clients to see."
Touché. She's right, I wouldn't be surprised either.
"So what are you suggesting?" I try to act dubious, but it really can't be a coincidence that our eyes keep meeting. When someone's talking in front of an audience, you tend to look at them, right? It's common courtesy. But her? I don't know. I say she's a little messed up in the head if she's chosen me to be creepy towards.
Reluctantly, I point to myself. Of course, Sakura nods.
"Ladies!" Temari suddenly bellows from below. "Are you two done venting your innermost deepest thoughts onto each other? Ms. Tenten, this is the second time I've had to call on you for the past ten minutes. Feeling rebellious today aren't we?"
"No, ma'am. Sorry," I say, embarrassed.
"Let's hope this doesn't add on to your alone time with her afterschool today," Sakura whispered through gritted teeth.
Temari sighs and rubs her temples. "Miss Haruno, I can see your lips moving. I hope you aren't betting any money on the same game your friends are playing. Your bed mate would be very, very upset."
"Don't worry about that," Sakura replies coolly, "you're not my type anyway." The class suddenly erupts in a sea of murmurs. Everyone knows about Sakura, but that doesn't make her statement any easier to take in. I can tell from the look on her face that Temari didn't expect it either, but moments later, she throws her head back and her shoulders start to shake with laughter.
"That's not a very nice thing to say. It hurts the other person's self-esteem, you know," Temari said, still laughing.
"I'm sure you'll live, Temari." Sakura rolls her eyes, but a smile appeared unsuppressed.
"With your blessing, I think I'll be able to move on. So! Back to class, people, let's be serious now." She slammed her hand onto the surface of the podium and resumed her lesson as if nothing happened. For the rest of the class, not a single syllable slips from my mouth.
Class ended sooner than I had hoped. I stay in my seat and warily watch everyone else filter out of the classroom, leaving me and that dumbass Naruto behind. Temari busied herself as she cleaned up all her papers and pretended not to notice us. Naruto sits a bit more awkwardly than usual and tries to make small talk. He is definitely the last person I wanted to talk to, so I cross my arms and just ignore him. I'm sure most people would've gotten the message and kept quiet, but not him. He keeps talking, making the atmosphere more awkward for the both of us. He shifts uncomfortably in his seat, talking about some basketball game on TV last night. For some reason, I get the feeling that he doesn't want to be here any more than I do. At least…probably until Temari calls him in for a one-on-one.
Sure enough, Temari calls him down moments later, leaving me alone at my desk to watch their exchange. That lasted all of sixteen seconds (yes, I counted) with Naruto glowing so brightly I thought I'd go permanently blind and Temari's grin stretching so wide that it almost looks sadistic. Next thing I know, they both walk right past me and out of the room. I'm alone. Again. If I knew detentions were always so bullshit I would've had more fun throughout my previous schooling years. Then again, if I had known how ridiculous this teacher is, I would probably not have taken this course. There is the option of dropping the course, but I kind of need it. Plus I don't want to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing that I'm such a quitter and can't even handle such immature problems. AND I really don't want Temari to think that I dropped because of her.
So I pack my bag and leave the classroom. No point waiting in line to go to Hell, right? But before I could take two steps outside the classroom, someone grabs me from behind and roughly jerks my backpack upwards. "Where are you going?" A voice behind me says sternly. Temari. She was probably standing outside just waiting for me to embarrass myself even more. Just so it's clear, I feel extremely victimized in all this.
"My office," Temari continues as she pulls me along by my backpack.
I twist myself around and violently try to pry her hands off me. She was a few inches taller than me and stronger too, so when she tightened her grip, I'm forced to give in. "I can walk by myself," I tell her in the most venomous tone I can muster. She smirks at me, but let go. As soon as she does, her hand falls into an iron-grip around my wrist. I've always known she was evil. Now I'll have evidence when she makes a mark in my skin.
"Where is Naruto?" I ask, secretly hoping she'd say that she killed him so I can get her arrested. That's killing two birds with one stone.
"I let him go," she replies simply.
I frown deeply. "You kept him for like five minutes! Are you trying to say that this is my entire fault?"
She looks thoughtful for a second. "No, not really. But it's still my responsibility to make it look like I've got my class under control."
"This is ridiculous!"
"You're right," she smiles at me, but doesn't let go. "I suppose you can think of this as an excuse."
"What's that supposed to mean?" We reach her office, a massive oak door with a shiny nameplate on the side. Very hard to miss. A flashy room for a flashy person. She shoves me inside and closes the door behind her. Her room is spacious and surrounded by bookcases on both sides, jammed tight with books of all sizes. Apart from the wide polished wooden desk in front of the big fancy windows at the end of the room, there was a sofa, a glass coffee table littered with papers, and a very out of place beanbag chair. The perfect atmosphere for preying on her students.
And that's when the fear sets in. I spin around just in time to watch her lock the door. She casually walks by me and sits on the coffee table, then motions for me to take a seat on the sofa. At this point, I really start to consider what Sakura said earlier. And I'm very, very scared. Now she's giving me that look of impatience, and I get even more panicked. I take the easiest way out and rigidly walk over to sit down across from her. She crosses her leg over and (purposely?) brushes it against mine.
"So," she starts, smiling amusedly at me, "tell me what happened."
"You know what happened," I snap back automatically despite myself.
Her smile thins out into a wicked and knowing grin. "What I know is that you took a bet with Naruto to see who could sleep with me first, am I right?"
"W-what? No! I would never d-do something like that! H-he s-said he wanted to bet whether he could s-s-sleep with y-you or not! I have nothing t-to do with this! I t-tried to ignore him, I s-swear!" Is it obvious how much I'm panicking?
"Why are you stuttering like that? It was a simple yes or no question."
"Because y-you're goddamn intimidating," I reply angrily. This kind of honesty probably isn't very healthy for me. "And no! I-I didn't make a bet whatsoever!"
"Oh really now? Now you make it hard for me to tell whether you're lying or not." She leans in close to me, almost on top of me. I shrink back into the leather sofa as much as I could, but that did little to help. "I have a feeling that mouth of yours might get you in a little bit of trouble."
I stare into her eyes in an almost trance-like state. They were a very dark green. I've always thought they'd by brown up close…I guess things are never what they seem. She strokes my arm but I can barely feel it. All I can think about right now is how warm it's starting to get, but at the same time I can feel goose-bumps rising. It feels like a bug is crawling up my arm…and along my shoulders…across my collarbone…up my neck…and suddenly, I see her face, looming dangerously above my own. She's coming closer and my mind can't tell me why.
Until I feel her, very slightly, on my lips. That little touch was enough to set everything off. All at once, I my senses flare. I'm acutely aware of her hand under my chin and her breath, her legs snuggled between mine, and that glazed look in her eyes.
I panic. A lot. I panic enough to get my adrenaline running and toss the unguarded woman off me. She nearly trips over the coffee table, but catches herself in time. She blinks at me in honest amazement and confusion. It's as if she expected me, a woman, to let myself get touched by a random woman I know almost nothing about. Either she's out of her mind or I somehow look "easy".
"That's highly inappropriate, Professor," I say, eyes still wide. "We're in school! A-and we're both women!"
She frowns and looks even more confused. "Oh, a homophobe," she says with distinct disappointment. "That's…odd. I could've sworn…I caught that vibe from you."
Without thinking, I reply, "I think you mistook me for Sakura. She sits next to me so maybe our auras were mixed in somehow."
That didn't sound stupid at all.
"That's cute," she laughs, "but no, I know about Sakura. She's dating my cousin."
"Oh, you're related to Ino?" This kind of small talk is kind of ridiculous after what just happened--but let's not disturb the peace and make a mess of things.
"Yeah, pretty distantly though. Still we're close, I'd say." She clears her throat. "Let's not talk about that anymore." She walks to the back of the room and sits down heavily on her swivel chair. I follow her and take a seat across from her. "So," she starts again, "let's talk about why you're here." I thought I was lured here, not that I'd say that out loud. "You and Naruto made an illicit gamble, correct?" At the mention of the dumbass, I can't help but wonder if he went through what I just went through.
"I didn't," I reply bluntly. "I have nothing to hide."
"Okay, you're free to go."
"What? That's it?"
Temari sighs. "This isn't high school. You're in university now. I shouldn't even be talking to you about this. And I know you wouldn't do something like that. Naruto's a prankster, but you're no delinquent. Even if you try I don't think you'd be cut out to cause trouble for people like that. So I should apologize for wasting your time. But I think you already realize why you're here. However, I hope you understand I didn't mean anything. I don't want to disrespect you, and I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't misread the signs. Sometimes humans can be such impulsive creatures, and that's how some people tend to get in trouble. So forgive me. If you want, we'll just pull out a clean slate and start over, okay?"
I nod, at a loss for words, and quickly stumble out of the room. I was right. I had been lured here. I suppose she would've pull something like this eventually, but Naruto's dumb antics just made it convenient for her. Still, I don't think this kind of event will be forgotten easily. And I have plenty to think about on the thirty-minute bus ride home. It's funny though, I don't really feel violated even though I think I'm supposed to. What happened wasn't all that scary. Well, it was scary, but it's more like the fear you get when you approach something new for the first time like public speaking or something. So maybe there's something wrong with me. Now what was that Sakura said? ...There has to be a mistake.
As I sit down on the bus, my mind instantly tunes everything out. Whatever just happened in Temari's office are on SO many levels of wrong. First of all, she's my professor. The last thing I want is people spreading rumours that I'd do absolutely anything for an A. Then people would think I'm just easy and I probably have a night job at some dirty brothel somewhere downtown. Okay, probably not. Honestly, I'm sure many people have slept with teachers for marks. But not me! I would never, ever, stoop that low. It's...disgusting human behaviour. And that brings me to that particular disgusting human being. Temari, she's young. I know that. She might've climbed her way up using her prodigious brilliance (or supreme "bed-side manner"), but there has GOT to be some level of professionalism that must be maintained, right? She can't just go around touching whichever one of her students she wanted to just because she thinks she's so damn irresistible. I realize that I hate her even more now. Narcissistic human beings throw society into disorder.
Besides, seriously, she should pick on someone else. Me, most people don't even remember my name the first few times. Or they see my name but forget my face. Mostly the latter since my name appears a lot of the school's recognition lists. Other than that, nothing. Not even the slightest hint of a romantic history. Obviously, there are much bigger fish out there. I don't even have one of those childhood crushes. In fact, I've never had romantic interest for anyone and, honestly, I think it's very sad. Temari is no doubt a very attractive person in terms of appearance, charisma, and intellect. How else can she get the whole school wrapped around her little finger? So that thing she pulled makes as much sense to me as teaching rocket science to a toaster in sign language. Why would anyone even think of that?
And, really, I'm not freaking out. But for some reason the lady across from me is looking at me funny.
I've said many times that I hate Temari, but the truth is that I really can't. Not even after what happened today. I guess I respect her too much to hate her. She may be full of herself sometimes but it's always spoken jokingly. Plus I doubt she enjoys being ogled at by a hundred and ninety-nine people (that's the whole class excluding myself--I've seen Sakura do it too). Figures she never wears anything too revealing. As eccentric as she may be, she does seem to follow a certain set of rules. I mean, at least she doesn't flash the class. That's saying something, right? Anyway, I'm sure everything will go on as normal tomorrow. I'm worrying for no reason.
But even as I keep telling myself that, I end up missing my stop.
As I thought, nothing happened in class that was anything out of the ordinary. Naruto didn't seem any more pleased with himself than usual, so I figure Temari hadn't done anything to him after all. It's now nearing the end of the class and Temari quiets us down. Seems like a major announcement or assignment to me.
"As you all know," she begins when the room was dead silent, "most of you are actually pretty close to the legal age range that would classify as 'juvenile'. I'm assuming most of you are 21. But even though you're legal to drink around the world, it doesn't mean every 21-year-old's mentality has changed very dramatically since they were 17. So I have an assignment for all of you, and it revolves around the word 'happiness'. We know that a lack of love is one of the many factors that impulse a teenager to risk extremities with the law. And a lack of love creates a lack of happiness. But! Love is rivalled by material wealth. So let's see which is the stronger, shall we? I want all of you to take out a piece of paper and write your name on it. Then I want you to come up and put them into this box behind me." She taps the box in question and smiles at us. The box is see-through, probably to show us that she isn't going to pull any strange tricks, which makes me all the more suspicious.
We did what we were told and filed down to the stage. When it was my turn to step up to the box beside her, I swear I heard a barely audible sigh escape her lips. But I quickly dismiss it as my imagination and go back to my seat.
"Now, for your assignment. I call this the Cash/Time Run. You have three classes to complete the assignment. You will each receive a secret partner, and under no circumstances will you reveal your partner's name to anyone else, especially your partner themselves. Think of this as secret Santa. You will each find two gifts for your partner. One will be bought, no more than thirty dollars. The other will be made using materials no more than five dollars. Crafted. And remember, this is a test of happiness so try and make it good, okay? Be innovative, and try to get the best reaction out of your partner. You will all exchange your gifts on the third class and a report of your findings is due the same day before 12AM." And just when I thought it cannot be any worse, she says, "Just for extra exhilaration, I'll add my own name in since one student dropped out yesterday." Now that's news to me. For some reason, I'm the only one surprised.
I nudge Sakura. "Who dropped?"I whisper.
She looks at me like I suddenly grew a plant on my nose. "You don't know?"
"That's why I asked, Sakura," I grumble.
"This one guy who's absolutely obsessed with the professor down there. He got shot down in a heartbeat. It's apparently his first time getting rejected. He was so pissed that he accused Temari of being a dyke. Got into a huge argument and ended up dropping. I'm surprised you haven't heard." To me, that kind of extreme behaviour is almost unfathomable. It's stupid. Something a high school girl would do. Not an adult male.
"Why would I know? I never pay attention to this stuff."
"You know some people blame you since you were the last one in her office. What did I tell you?"
"Ridiculous," I say dismissively with a shake of my head. Then I hear my name and quickly head down the red carpeted steps to receive my partner's name.
She keeps her eyes on me as she sticks her hand into the glass tank. After hearing Sakura's little piece of news, I can't help but feel the stares of god knows how many pairs of eyes. As uncomfortable as I am, all I can think about right now is why Temari won't let me draw the name myself. When she hands me the slip, I snatch it rudely from her hand, careful to avoid any physical contact, and nearly sprint back to my seat without opening the slip of paper.
Despite Temari's instructions, I see most people sharing their papers with others. I guess as long as their target doesn't know about it its okay. Sakura is looking over my shoulder expectantly. I look at her, hoping she'd back off and give me some space. When she doesn't, I simply ignore her and flip open the rectangular slip.
"Wow," Sakura says with amusement. I gape at the sheet, my jaw unhinged.
"This is fucking ridiculous!" I cry, throwing down the sheet in anger. This is rigged. She rigged it. Fuck! Unbelievable! Son on of a bitch! Argh! I glare at the piece of paper in Sakura's hand and grab it from her. Oh wonderful, I get freaking Temari and she gets someone neither of us knows. No pressure for her. Me, I have to put love and time into a gift for a cheating prick like her! Shit.
I take a deep breath. Calm...
I look over at her where she is inattentively drawing names for one student after another.
Our eyes meet. I can feel her mocking eyes as strongly as if she was inches away. She knows I'm angry. She's talking to the students on autopilot but her eyes do not steer away from mine. No one but me notice how pleased she looks with herself. As subtle as I can, I sneak her the finger. Temari sees this and burst out laughing. Swift and sly she shakes off the weird stares with an excuse and finally her eyes wander off. Sakura, who had been intently absorbed with the keypad on her phone (no doubt exchanging text messages with Ino), suddenly looks up at her in confusion. "She's lost it," I tell her, trying to look amazed.
"She's lost it a long time ago. What happened?"
"Don't worry about it."
She pounces on her phone at the slightest hint of a vibration. Once she replied, she has totally lost interest. Instead, she says, "Let's go shopping after school. I wanna get this over with."
"Fine with me. I'll just fish something out of the toilet for my 'love' assignment," I reply bitterly.
Sakura laughs. "Suit yourself."
After class, I told Sakura to wait for me in a nearby campus lounge. I don't know what propelled me in this direction, but I had a huge urge to do something reckless and it wouldn't go away until it's satisfied. So here I am, back inside Temari's office. I followed her here from the classroom and so far, despite holding the door for me on the way in, she's been pretending I don't exist.
Now that we're finally alone, I stand there in front of her desk, stock still without a clue to what I should say. Temari kept her eyes on mine, challenging me with her feet propped up on her desk.
Finally, I couldn't take the pressuring stare. "You cheated didn't you?" I blurt out, waving the slip of paper with her name on it.
She doesn't even blink. "Before you accuse someone of something like that, you should at least have some sort of substantial proof."
"There's no way this can be a coincidence."
"You can think whatever you want."
"Okay fine." I tongue my cheek thoughtfully, wondering if I should tread into the deep waters. Hell, I've got nothing to lose. I take a breath. "Then explain to me what happened yesterday."
"I already did. There's nothing to it. I just misinterpreted a spark."
"Did you...do that to Naruto too?"
She cracks a grin. "Jealous now, are we?" She doesn't say anything more.
"Okay, here's one. Why do you keep looking at me in class? Since the beginning of the school year."
"You only catch me looking at you because you're looking at me," she replies matter-of-factly.
"You're on center stage! It's common sense."
"Then how come you take so little notes?"
I'm beginning to lose my patience. "See! That's what I'm talking about! You spend nearly every second of the class looking my way. Why?"
"I think that was demonstrated the last time you were here," she smirks. "Or would you care to refresh that memory seeing as you fled before you got to the good part anyway."
I glare at her as hard as I can. This woman is impossible. "Fine, forget it," I say, raising both hands in resignation, "You're obviously not the easy to work with type."
"You obviously like to make a big deal out of things. So why don't you get out of here before your little mouth gets you in trouble again," she replies with that annoying smile on her face.
I didn't need to be asked twice.
After I met up with Sakura, I'm still fuming. Even as I scour the biggest shopping district around with her, Ino, and Lee, one of my closest friends, I'm feeling as frustrated as ever. Curiously, both Lee and Ino seem completely filled in on the situation with me and Temari, including the rumours plus other extreme allegations (apparently Temari and I conspired to get Mr. Whatshisface to drop out of the class 'cause he kept walking in on us while we did all sorts of steamy things in the freaking seminar room. Who makes up this bullshit?). Lee and Ino are crazy about this assignment. They think it's so fucking wonderful of Temari to have thought up something "so obvious and so brilliant".
"You know, Saku," I hear Ino say as we walk out of a clothing store (we soon learn that clothes aren't exactly the best choice when we realize that we had no idea what size our partners wore), "isn't it kind of strange to you?" Ino's tone was discreet but she made sure that Lee and I could hear her behind us. I mentally sighed and rolled my eyes.
"What's strange?" Sakura replies innocently.
"Tenten, y'know, and her whole thing with Temari." I think my eye just twitched involuntarily. Ino goes on, "Isn't she thinking too much into this coincidental assignment? Or else she wouldn't be all angry and sulky. Do you think...?"
Sakura sighs, "I warned her, I told her. I don't know what Temari's done, but whatever it is..."
"I wonder..." Ino whispers something I can't hear no matter how hard I strain my ears. Sakura giggles and simply says, "Yeah right."
Suddenly, Lee reaches out and touches my hand. I look up into his big brown eyes and he grins broadly in return. "If you have something to say then say it," I tell him impatiently.
"I know where we have to go," he replies mysteriously, intertwining our fingers together as he leads us along the street. Lee is the type of person who loves attention. He loves little touches and things like holding hands with everyone even if we will never be romantically involved (ew, I can't even picture that). He's flirty, loud, and sometimes obnoxious. Because of that, people tend to mistake him for a player. In reality, he's anything but. If he really likes someone (and I've seen it happen), he would never be his bold self. He'd invert into himself every time that person comes near and he'd be quiet. Docile. Cool. Since I hang around him the most, and he's absolutely not in love with me, people tend to mistake us to be young lovers. So those who don't know us at school have used this to bring the Temari scandal up a notch, so Lee says. As in, I'm suddenly the lying, cheating prick that obviously has Temari written all over its definition.
Now I'm angry again. I tug my hand away from Lee's. Surprisingly, he just keeps staring straight ahead, ignoring me.
We pass by a Japanese hot dog stand, so, suddenly feeling a lurch of hunger in my stomach, I pull him to a stop. He gapes at me. Sakura and Ino inspect the menu over the heads of the stands' teeming customers and, as per usual, are lost in their own world. Before I could take a single step closer to the line-up, Lee jerks me away by the arm. "We're not waiting fifteen minutes for a damn hot dog."
"What's the rush? I'm hungry."
"If you were hungry, you wouldn't stand in that line."
"Their hot dogs are good," I retort. "We'll get to wherever you wanna go eventually."
It seems like Sakura and Ino gave up on the cart too, gravitating towards a nearby shop window instead as Lee and I argue. "Because! Aren't you excited? Don't you wanna know where I'm taking you?"
I raise an eyebrow. "This is an assignment. A present for whatsherface. Why the hell should I be excited?"
"It's because it's for Temari that you should be excited," he says, not forgetting his signature wink. I shake my head, not wanting to get involved in this conversation for the umpteenth time and get accused of being defensive and suspicious. I brush by him and keep walking forwards. He's by my side in a heartbeat, and he's not about to let things slide. "You know, Tenten, have you ever thought about being involved in a relationship?"
"Not with her," I reply bluntly. With me, no one ever has to beat around the bush.
Lee grins. "I mean in general."
"But Temari did kiss you right?"
"Okay! Off topic and random, but no." Sakura and Ino both turn to look at us, their little dividing barrier shattering. I just shrug. "She didn't kiss me. I pushed her off."
When I notice how shocked they looked, I realize that I've blown my cover. I've just sent myself to hell by confirming rumours. "She made a move on you?" Ino says disbelievingly. "You?"
"Well, excuse me for being unattractive," I reply bitterly.
"No, it's not that. You're very cute." She made her point by letting go of Sakura's hand to tweak both my cheeks. "But! Temari...she had a bad experience with a younger girl before so I didn't think she'd..."
"Oh," I say dumbly. Wow. "How old is she?"
"Uh...twenty...seven? I don't remember. She never acts her age around me anyway."
"Good range," Sakura added with a smirk. Ino playfully slapped her on the arm. Lee was still staring at me, speechless.
Suddenly, Lee clamps my shoulder with both hands. "Tell me everything," he breathes in a dreamy state of awe.
"Yeah, yeah," Ino beams with her eyes wide. Sakura nods vigorously beside her and suggests we take a detour to a coffee shop. To my dismay, they all agree before I can say anything. I'm cursing myself to hell but still I try to grin. Nothing happened and it doesn't affect me. I guess there's no reason I should object.
"Nothing happened, that's what I said," I explain over my cup of coffee. Black--bitter just like me. They were so excited they practically ran to a cafe two blocks away, dragging me behind them. I even had to convince them to order first so we don't waste space inside the homey little shop. Ridiculous. Obviously, I ignored them and bought myself a coffee and biscotti anyway. Despite the whining, Ino bought herself a muffin to share (very...stimulatingly? might I add) with Sakura. Lee, on the other hand, just kept rushing us. He was practically bouncing on one of the lounge chairs while we waited for our orders.
"That's not good enough!" Lee exclaims, throwing up his arms and attracting unwanted attention.
"But that's true...what do you want me to say?"
"Details, Tenten, details! C'mon how long have you known me? I want every last speck of detail, every nook and cranny! Every single moment to the point where your lips almost meet!"
I stare at the drama queen. Why did I ever befriend him in the first place? Oh. Wait. He's the one who befriended (stalked) me. I sigh and start at the beginning, where the jackass Naruto drags me into hell with him. Sakura is my witness.
"I'm surprised she didn't sock the guy," Ino mused. Lee shushes her so I can continue. Sakura quickly shoves a piece of the muffin into her mouth then proceeds to take it back from her. With her mouth. I can't help but turn away and continue talking to distract myself. Even Lee doesn't seem comfortable watching them.
"She went out with Naruto and left me in the classroom by myself, came back a little later just as I was leaving, and literally drags me to her office. I noticed she locked the door when I went in, so I was a little panicky." I then add with hard-to-miss spite, "I wouldn't be surprised if she does this to everyone."
"I doubt it," Ino cuts in,"She's really busy you know. You think she really wants to teach sociology? She's always wanted to be a neurosurgeon you know. Don't ask me why. She fascinated by every aspect of the human brain, physically and mentally."
"Then why would she teach socio?"
"Because she has no choice. Her dad wouldn't let her into psychology or any sciences, but neither would he let her do anything but teach. He sees that potential in her and doesn't want to waste it. Everyone knows how brilliant she is. She should be world famous by now. But she's working at it. Already had a huge fit with her dad, but it still might be a while before she's free."
Sakura looked over at me curiously and asks, "You don't know who her father?"
"Oh, woah, Tenten doesn't know?"Lee said in amazement. "At least now I know you're no gold-digger."
"G-gold-digger? What? That's offensive!" I'm so confused...
"I thought the whole school knew!" Ino exclaims. "One of our ancestors on Temari's side of the family is one of the original founding fathers."
"Meaning, her daddy runs the place," Lee adds.
I gape at her. "No way. You're lying."
"Nope. FYI, my side of the family wasn't involved in the school. They were scholars though, worked at the school, but that's about the extent of it."
"My family were bakers," Sakura says lamely.
"So why are you telling me this again?" I ask before the conversation gets too off-track.
"I just don't want you to get the wrong image of her. She's not the sex offender you think she is. Just...a troubled woman with lots of pressure on her shoulders."
"Why can't she just get out and do what she wants? She seems the type to do that. Isn't she old enough to make her own decisions?"
"That means she's gotta go back to school you know. She got a degree in neuroscience and another in teaching, but that's about as far as she's allowed to go. So she's putting up with it, y'know? Earning her own cash. She's planning to leave after this semester, so she says."
"If she really wants to be independent, why did she stay at the school?"
"Her parents would go berserk if they found out she was working for someone else. They take it as an offense to their honour as a prestigious family. Pretty bullshit really."
Lee yawns. He already knows the story I guess. "Okay, really, can we go back to the original topic of Tenten's romantic rendezvous?" he whines.
"It's not a rendezvous and there was nothing romantic about it," I growl. I had hoped that everyone would just drop the subject. I don't see why everyone just has to make something out of nothing. Wow doesn't that sound familiar. "She made a move. End of story."
"What kind of move?" Lee insists. Sakura and Ino lean in seemingly unconsciously to make sure they don't miss a single syllable of what I'm about to say.
I roll my eyes. "She sat me down on that couch she has in her office and started interrogating me on what happened with Naruto. Except she thought that the winner of the bet was actually the person who sleeps with her first. When in reality, Naruto just tried to make me bet whether or not he could sleep with her. I didn't even bet. I just ignored him! So somehow she caught that and used it as an excuse."
"...Then she jumped you right after?" Ino offered, probably an educated guess based on all their years together."
"Basically. And that's about it." Of course, I leave out the part where I impulsively hunted her down in her office to demand an explanation.
Lee and Sakura's faces fell dramatically. I don't even want to know how they're picturing my detention.
Lee's surprise store was very pink. Not like flamenco-dancer-at-the-Moulin-Rouge-pink but more like little-girl-with-a-teddy-pink. At first, I had the impression that it sold lollipops or cupcakes...or strawberry-flavoured condoms. Turns out it was a craft store. The minute we stepped into the store, I felt an odd familial air about the place. An elderly lady behind the counter beamed at us as if we came to tell her that we found her lost cat. Behind the aisles is a table with half a dozen people gathered around it—probably a crocheting class.
Sakura went nuts, of course, and dove right into the origami section. She loves origami. In fact, she loves it so much that she actually comes up with all kinds of paper monstrosities. I said she liked it, not that she was good at it. Still, just this alone is sometimes enough to woo Ino's pants off. Literally. I had the unfortunate honour of being there when Sakura apologetically presented her with a lopsided, sad excuse for a paper heart after a small fight over something trivial. I left the room, along all twenty people that was there with me. It was someone's birthday party.
Lesson to all: anyone celebrating anything with those two should always celebrate in the public. Where they behave just a liiittle bit more.
Lee follows me around as I wander the different sections of the stores. I contemplated the little DIY models, but nothing stood out as suitable. There was a backyard garden (complete with a creepy gnome), a ramen shop, a takoyaki stand, a library, et cetera et cetera. I was looking for something like a grey rain-drenched dumpster complete with Lego junkies. Besides, all the little wooden bits and pieces looked like way too much work. The models were on a small base, probably only a couple inches wider than an average coaster, but the precision and patience it required is not worth it.
I put down a box depicting a 3-D puzzle of a clock-tower and scowl. I never knew puzzles are so expensive. "Nothing less than five bucks in this store is worth the time and patience," I growl.
Lee looks at me, "Isn't time and patience the point of this excercise? I have an idea. Why not buy some of those straws"—he nodded towards the box on the floor with bundles of pastel coloured straws as long as five or six regular straws taped together—"and learn to make something cool. I'm sure the old lady can teach you."
I look at him warily. "No." Straight and abrupt.
"You could buy felt and a few pieces of cotton. Cheap. You can scrap old shirts in place of cotton too I bet. "
"Make her a stuffed animal?"
I skim around until I reach a shelf stacked high with cubbyholes of colourful felt. "How about I just skip the cotton." Lee shrugs. A buck for two. Three pieces is more than enough, but I buy an extra sheet anyway. I plan to keep it simple, resorting to only two colours: brown and crème. Lee doesn't question me, and I'm not about to ask for his opinion.
"I hope you're not thinking of making felt shit," is all he says. I just laugh as vaguely as I can.
It's the second day and we're sitting in class. Sakura ended up buying a whole sack load of patterned origami paper and brings it to class. She says she tends to make as much as she can before the deadline and give whichever she feels is the best. Obviously, she's stretched way beyond the five-dollar limit, but since she's only giving away one sheet, it really doesn't break the rules. Still, she spends the whole class trying to fold a pug. Most of the NGs ended up looking like mutated teakettles, though I can feel her determination to master it. I can also feel Temari's eyes shooting lasers right through our heads. I figure she'd do the same whether I was paying attention or not, so I end up joining Sakura as well. I'm not a master like her, so I just fold a bunch of cranes and turtles until I had my tower of turtles flanked by an army of cranes. Sakura doesn't like me using her origami papers, so everything is white striped blue. Kinda cute nonetheless.
I'd finished the crafty part of my assignment the day I bought the supplies, so I had nothing to worry. Except for the money-spending half. Thirty bucks. I could buy a stack of cheap porn. Or...
I rush out the door of the classroom the second it ended, ignoring any strange looks, and hurdle down to the bus stop, jumping from foot to foot impatiently as I wait. I get off at the campus's shopping district and sprint to the nearest grocery store. With my thirty bucks in hand, I quickly buy what I'm looking for, yet again ignoring the strange looks, and jump back onto the bus back to the sociology building.
I didn't wonder why I rushed so much until I found myself back at her door.
Temari is in her office, as usual, when I knocked on her door. Hearing a faint, "Come in", I cracked open the door and cautiously peeked inside. Suddenly, my excitement is gone, replaced by pure anxiety. Without looking up from her computer monitor she asks the usual question, "What can I do for you?"
Finding my voice, I reply, "I was wondering if I can hand in my assignment early." She shifts her attention to me, properly noticing me for the first time. "Which one?" she asks.
"The cash run thing."
"Oh, yeah? But the point of the assignment is to reward your partner, so..."
"You know who my partner is," I say with a roll of my eyes. My usual boldness is back, but I can't say that's a good thing from previous experiences.
"Still, it screws up the system if you do. You're supposed to give your presents on the first deadline. Did you already finish the report?"
"No, but I'd like to share my gift."
"Hm, trying to get ahead are you?" She swivels in her chair to face me completely. With one hand tucked under her chin, she looked relaxed. But her expression is smug. Challenging. Daring me to make a move I'll regret.
"I do want to get this over with."
"Alright, but just because it's you."
I frown. "Then forget it. I don't want special treatment. Especially not from you."
She smiles, as if I'd just complimented her. "Then how about special treatment that's completely unrelated to school? I'd love to take you out for a cup of coffee or something."
I gape at her. "No!" is my automatic response.
She shrugs and goes back to her computer. "It was worth a shot. Well, I'm just about done here anyway, so why don't you accompany me to the cafe. It's right across from the bus stop anyway."
I can't tell you why I didn't bolt the minute I was given the chance to, but the fact remains that I let her wrap an arm around my shoulder and guide me to the door. That's when I noticed how small she is in reality. Just a notch taller than me, but more toned judging by her arms. Even once we exited the room, I notice that she really has no attention of letting me go unless I shrug it off myself. So I did, but not quite as much of a full rejection as I intended. Instead, I ease it off. She doesn't try again, but flashes me a bright toothy smile. Satisfaction over rejection maybe?
"So are you aiming to be a social worker?" she asks me. Small talk.
"I guess. School counsellor? But from my experience, they tend to do jack shit," I reply, earning myself a chuckle.
"Not all of them. The key is to make people like you, make the kids comfortable with you."
Suddenly, she stops. "Do you like me?" she asks innocently but without the usual light-hearted playfulness. I'm a little confused at why it's such a weighted question. When I don't say anything, she pushes me, "Just give me an honest answer. It shouldn't be that difficult for a perfect student like you."
I search her face for signs of ill intentions, and finds only dead seriousness. "Uh, I respect you as an intellectual."
"But do you like me?"
"Probably not as much as the rest of the school."
"Ah. Is it because..."
"Not really. It didn't bother me as much as I thought." She bites her lip and her eyes wander the empty streets of the campus. I just realize that she led me to a remote road away from most of the population. The long road to the bus loop that used to be overcrowded before the new road was built.
She leans in a little bit and whispers, "Do you think I can do it again? All the way this time?"
My eyes are wide, and I fail to hide the blush. "No!" I reply firmly nonetheless.
"But you said..."
"I'm not...like you. I thought we settled that."
"No, I'm not really that convinced."
"Are you that arrogant or are you just daft?" I say, sounding fierier than I felt.
"Hm, not a lot of people use the word 'daft' here," she muses. "Are you sure I can't change your mind? You haven't even given me a try yet."
I glare at her and walk ahead. "You've got so many people wetting their pants for you, so why can't you pick on them instead?" I yell back without turning.
"Because," she says matter-of-factly, taking a few quick strides to catch up, "I just like you more than the rest."
I turn on my heel, my hot-headed self resurfacing, and jab a finger at her shoulder. "But I don't like YOU. So WHY?"
She grabs my hand and gently pulls me toward her. While I'm still dazed and confused, she plants a kiss on my cheek. "Because I can't help who I like," she murmurs into my ear. Tickling it once more with a tiny puff of breath, she then releases her grip on me. I stumble backwards, shocked again.
I bite my tongue to avoid any more of this insanity, but words push themselves against my lips. I allow myself one sentence before I take off as fast as I possibly can.
"I hate bananas!"
The day of the stupid gift exchange has finally arrived. I don't have a clue what everyone's so excited about, but the amount of noise in the room compares to that in a big city subway station during rush hours. Everywhere I look I see everyone looking expectantly at Temari, waiting for her to give the word, but it wasn't towards the end of class that she brought it up. By then, everyone was virtually peeing themselves with excitement. Just like a bunch of kindergarten kids.
When the word came, it feels like there's some sort of fire and everyone is stampeding in all directions. I sit in my seat and wait. My eyes follow Sakura as she wanders toward someone at the back of the room. Not a very sociable girl by the looks of it, but nonetheless, she delivers her project with a smile before she's approached by a blushing guy who looks like he's in fourth grade. She receives a big chocolate heart. I crack up. Sakura makes a rude gesture at me and people stare, but I just wave it all off.
Then...the first shining light in weeks!
"Are you Tenten?" says a deep voice from behind me. I turn and pretend I didn't see coming. The guy who pulled my name out of the fish tank. Strong build. Tall. Good-looking, no bullshit. HALLELUJIA!
"Yeah," I reply coolly. Sometimes you just gotta keep the mood. "You are?"
"Neji." He dumps his presents, two small ribbon-tied boxes, on my desk and leaves. So much for that. Asshole.
I pick up one of the boxes and gave the ribbon a small tug. It fell apart instantly, leaving only a little naked blue box. Curiously, I lift the lid.
Next time I see that guy, I'll throw this at his head. Apparently, he just couldn't bring himself to make an effort and kindly bought me an EMPTY BOX. And surprise, surprise, the other box is also EMPTY. The height of my day just plummeted ten thousand feet into the ground and burnt to cinders at the centre of the earth. Since I'm getting the feeling it could not get any worse, I grudgingly get up from my seat, dragging a grocery-sized recycled bag with me.
Temari stood unperturbed, looking absolutely fascinated with her freshly manicured nails. I clear my throat.
"Oh, hello," she says, feigning surprise. "What can I do for ya?"
I throw the bag at her, causing her to stagger backwards in interception. "Ow, this is damn heavy," she grumbles at me, "I don't see why you couldn't just give it to me like a normal person."
"I did what any normal person would've done, Professor," I reply cheekily. The whole class quieted down into a low murmur to watch our exchange. Trying to see if rumours are true, probably.
"What is this?" She said, pulling out a bunch of bananas. Enough to nearly exceed my limit.
"I thought I'd get something a bit more profound. Something I thought would represent you."
"A banana...? You said you hated bananas."
She rummaged in the bag some more and pulled out a different fruit. The only odd one I stuffed in there. The whole class is now silent. I roll my eyes. She grins. "What's this?" she says with the theatrical skills of a two-year-old, "some kind of rotten plum?"
"It's passion fruit. Something I don't mind, but wouldn't eat or drink if I had to. And that's how much I like you. One passion fruit among thirty bucks worth of bananas."
Her grin suddenly fades just a couple shades more sinister. Only loud enough for me to hear, she says, "I don't know, Tenten. It's pretty kinky. You're not hiding something are you? A secret hidden meaning perhaps?"
"Oh, don't worry, I will. Now what is this..." she digs into the bag again and reveals my art project.
"It's you," I say matter-of-factly. It's a doll, fuzzy in brown felt material and limp cotton. Its black button eyes and Sharpie-drawn mouth reflected almost the same expression on Temari's face.
"It's a monkey?" Her smile turns into a frown as she fingers its ears and tail.
"It still looks like you." Someone in the audience awws. Temari shoots the crowd a look and tells them all off, the noise of before crashing down in a heartbeat.
"Thanks," she smiles, turning back to face me, "now I have something to touch—"
"DON'T say anything I don't need to hear."
Temari laughs and pinches one of my cheeks, "Don't ever change, Tenten. Now, did you receive a nice gift from that nice boy you met?"
My expression turns even sourer if possible as I rub my aching face. "The jerk gave me two empty boxes; would you be happy with that?"
"He did flaunt himself when he gave it to you, so if I was in your place I probably would be."
"Well I'm not."
"Not your type?" she jokes without much humour in her voice.
"I don't have a type."
"Everyone has a type."
"Well what kind of person do you want?"
"I don't know. Someone who loves me?"
"I like you. You know that."
"But you don't love me." I didn't mean to say something like that. It sounded like whining; my heart sank to the bottom of my stomach while panic raged in all directions inside of me.
Temari's eyes widen almost unnoticeably, neither of us expecting a conversation like this. However, her reply was calm, collected, rehearsed: "Not yet, but you can't love someone you're not attracted to. You can't just skip a stage and jump right into love."
Her eyes were sincere, no lies, no malice. I shift uncomfortably, trying to think about what I should say. Finally, I give in. I know I'll regret this, but before I can take back my judgement, I hear the boldest statement I've ever made to Temari slip out of my mouth.
"Invite me to coffee again in your office."
After class, I decided to wander the building for a bit to avoid suspicion, passing by her office a few times to see the same people hanging around, eyeing me expectantly. So I decided to kill time at the campus bookstore, browsing through books I already own. I also buy myself a coffee. Forty-five minutes later, I go back and the hallway, fortunately, was cleared. So here I am, on that same leather couch with my coffee. Just a precaution of Temari tries something again.
"I thought you wanted me to invite you to coffee," she says finally seeing something other than her computer monitor, looking pointedly at me.
I shrug. "I had to kill some time." She wheels out from behind her desk in her wide leather office chair and rolls herself towards me. "You know about those delicious rumours?" she asks with a smirk.
"Who doesn't?" I scoff, "I swear I was stalked all the way to the bus stop yesterday. You've got some very creepy people after you."
"And why would that be my fault?"
"Because I've never been stalked in my life. And I look the same since high school."
"You think too highly of me," she grins.
"I don't. I don't have to think highly of you to know you're more attractive than I am!" I snap back. No one ever really likes to admit something like that.
Dramatically, she presses a hand to her heart, "Dear little Tenten thinks I'm attractive! I'll finally be able to die happy!"
"Don't do that," I say, dropping her arm on the armrest of her chair, "your acting skills suck big time."
She smiles softly. "I can say the same for you, trying to make me think you weren't the least bit interested in me."
I pick up a bunch of bananas from the bag on the coffee table and throw it at her. "I'm not."
Suddenly, I hear the crash of her chair being pushed away forcefully and a sudden gust of movement. I feel a warm weight on top of me and the fire of her lips on mine, touching for the first time. My body frozen in the rush and confusion, I open my eyes, forgetting when they closed, and felt the disappointment when they didn't meet the right shade of green I expected. I don't, I can't, return the kiss—I'm too caught up to remember how. Finally she pulls away. The room seems colder than I remember.
"I'm sorry," she mumbles, disorientation and the unmistakable lust thick in her voice. "I felt the spark. You didn't. And one spark can't create a flame."
"No, I did. There's something." I pull her in again by the waist while she straddled mine, to make sure I wasn't mistaken.
The harmony, the beautifully orchestrated sound of electric connection in my ears followed the very moment I initiated the kiss. I felt nothing but her against me, the rest of the world a white haze. My eyes shut themselves in a hunger to feel, but opened again when I craved too much to see her. Our thoughts were symmetrical even as our contact started getting sloppy. Her eyes opened to greet mine. The green is darker than usual. Strangely enough, seeing them made me want more. When the fire in my lungs became too much, I pulled away.
"That was..." I start, trying to catch my breath.
"Amazing?" she offers with a grin, her breath also coming laboriously. "It makes me want to tear off your clothes."
A sudden jump in my libido catches me off-guard. I know I'm blushing, and I can't think of a reply. I can only shift a little to contain myself. These new feelings seem a little dangerous, yet something inside of me is telling me to take that risk.
"As long as you don't give me bonus marks for it," I reply, my face burning even harder than before.
Her face flares up as well. "W-well, I...uh..." She stutters! I reach up and tentatively touch her lips again. What started out as an innocent gesture went full throttle in all of three seconds. I grabbed at her clothes and she felt around under my shirt. Her lips leave my own in favour of leaving marks on my neck, nipping and licking carefully, building up an uncomfortable tension inside of me. Her hands slip under my bra and I hear myself make a small, but very, very embarrassing noise.
"Did I ever tell you how adorable you are?" Temari mumbles into my neck. I shake my head, not trusting my voice. "You're so adorable that puppies and kittens make calendars of you!"
"Oh, my god, Temari!" I laugh and slap her playfully on the back. Suddenly, her thumb brushes against a hardened nipple. I recoil and take a sharp breath. "Don't...do that..."
"I couldn't resist because it's true." She smiles into my skin and runs a hand southwards, at the same time gently toying with my breast with her other hand. I reached behind my head and tugged the confines out of my hair, then did the same to her. Light mocha and dark chocolate spun together, caught between lips and skin. Temari disconnected herself from me, withdrawing everything, just to eye me over. I see the frustration accumulating in her eyes.
The playfulness was drawing to an end.
The green in her eyes was almost black. If I could see myself, I probably wouldn't be much better. Every part of me untouched seems to be screaming in agony. I can't understand any of this, but I'm starving. I don't care about anything else, only that I'm starving. A mutually pent-up lust. She reaches down and slowly, as my heartbeat quickens with impatience, works on my jeans. I hear myself whimper, but I'm too swept up to care. I see her grin, perfectly controlled in contrast with her eyes, but I'm feeling much too desperate to smack it off her face. The buttons come undone after what seems like an eternity. Still, she makes me wait.
Her hands take the long way around. They scour every inch of my body, going everywhere but where I want them. She's daring me to take a leap. Embarrass myself. Beg like a two-bit porn star. Wipe off that defiance I held on so tightly. But no. As hard as this is, I wait. I won't be the one to crack first.
"This is fun, isn't it?" Temari says provocatively. Just hearing her voice seems to make things worse. Her hand finds her way to the front of my jeans, tracing a line down the middle. I whimper again.
"Do it," I growl at her.
She grins. "Beg."
"Never," I breathe. "Just do it!"
Despite my condition, my nano-scale fuse still manages to win out. "If I had to, I'll just run out the door. Get fucked up by the first guy I see. Do you really think they'd refuse me if I'm in this kind of state? I wouldn't have to beg," I snapped, clawing the fabric of the sofa impatiently.
Temari laughed. "No, we wouldn't want that, would we?" She slid down and tucked herself comfortably between my legs. "I can't let my poor Tenten be stolen from me by a bunch of ugly dicks and some sick fantasies. Then you'll never know"—she tore off my pants and underwear in one swift motion—"how great I am, and the wonders that I can do."
"Shut up and do it," I grumble, gripping a handful of her hair.
"Yes ma'am," she replies solemnly. She moves in with a tentative flick of her tongue. That's already enough to drive me up the wall. At least I'm not alone in that aspect. She had meant for this to be slow, that's how it started out. Snail-pace torture. But her hunger is finally winning out. For each stroke of movement, she sped up faster than the last. Until I can't even decipher what's coming out of my mouth anymore. All I can hear is the droning of my voice, our sweaty breathing, and the sticky sound effects—all of it is bringing me closer to the edge. My head is spinning out of control, and finally I can feel it coming...one final moan and Temari's muffled name, the whole world stood still in my mind for one peak moment.
She stops and pulls herself up, brushing wisps of my hair away as I try to catch my breath. "What'd I tell ya?" she grins, kissing me lightly on the lips. "And I haven't even gotten inside you yet."
My eyes widen. "B-but I..."
She silences me. "You bought me almost thirty bucks worth of bananas...and I can't really eat them all...so maybe..."
Suddenly feeling a surge of energy, I straighten myself up and manage to sit properly on the couch. "Don't you dare," I warn. "You know I've never..."
"Don't worry, I'd never try to hurt you," she smiles, "I'll save them for tonight when you're not around."
I can't tell if she's joking or not. Almost immediately, she distracts me by raining profuse kisses on my neck and face. The moment she finds my mouth we both fuse into a fervent heap, fallen horizontally across the seats. This time she takes a finger.
Everything flew by in such a blur. My mind was clogged with three words swimming back and forth like a skipping record: Faster, deeper, more. They didn't slip out of my mouth until I was teetering at the edge again. Then I added 'please' into the mix and I was begging into her mouth.
She slipped in one more finger and the world stood once again.
"Next time, we'll have to play more seriously," Temari whispers into my ear. She had slipped herself beside me, almost under me, as she held me. She's so warm and comfortable that I can already feel myself losing consciousness.
"Next time?" I mumble into her breast. "How can you be so sure there's gonna be a..."
"Because I think I love you now. If not now, then very soon."
"That was fast..."
"All I needed was a lighter," she smiles, kissing my forehead. "Do you still hate me?"
"You're making it pretty hard to."
"Do you love me?"
I yawn. "Maybe in time."
A/N: Okay I know I said I'd publish a very serious romantic piece first, but then I learned that I now have exactly EIGHTY favourites for High Voltage! So this one-shot celebrates it with something better! Or hopefully better! :D:D:D:D